After this week, ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ goes on hiatus until March 3rd, 2015. That’s a long time to wait for a new episode. In the meantime, the show leaves us with a winter finale that jam-packs in a lot of major revelations and plot developments to tide us over.
First, let’s quickly resolve that little cliffhanger from the end of the last episode. After Whitehall orders his jets to shoot down the S.H.I.E.L.D. Bus, May pulls some fancy evasive maneuvers, dive-bombs into a cloud bank, then ejects some cargo and cloaks at just the right moment to convince the HYDRA pilots that the Bus is destroyed. With that taken care of, it’s time for the whole team to reunite in Puerto Rico!
Meanwhile, Ward brings Skye to finally meet her Daddy (Kyle MacLachlan). She’s less than happy to see him, even as he tries to tell her all about himself and where she comes from. Daddy has a name: Cal. And Skye’s real birth name is Daisy. This appears to confirm them as being the Marvel characters Mr. Hyde and Quake, which connects a lot of dots regarding Daddy’s anger issues. (Mr. Hyde is a lot like the Hulk.) Daddy Cal blathers on about destiny and birthright, and how Skye will “transform” into something when she enters the underground city. Skye wants no part of this, but he insists that everything will make sense to her after it happens.
Daddy also announces that, with his daughter returned to him, now he gets to go kill Whitehall. “Best Day Ever.”
The remaining S.H.I.E.L.D.ies meet up outside San Juan. Because HYDRA now knows where the underground city is and will arrive soon, Coulson orders Bobbi to reach out to her contact Diego again, for some reason. What is it with this Diego guy? The other characters keep talking about him like he’s hugely important, but once again, he’s only ever seen in the background of scenes and has no lines of dialogue. Bobbi and Lance spot him meeting with some HYDRA agents. Lance assumes that he’s selling them out, but Bobbi gives him the benefit of the doubt. Diego slips her a note that points them in the direction of an abandoned theater building, from which HYDRA is using a plasma drill to dig a new hole down to the city. That’s all we see of Diego.
Whitehall (Reed Diamond) forces Skye to touch the Diviner obelisk, proving that she’s one of the chosen people it won’t turn to stone. Skye uses the Diviner to attack a guard and Daddy starts to rage out, but Whitehall quickly contains the situation with a shock collar implanted in Daddy’s neck. (How did that get there?) He informs them that he intends to dissect Skye just as he did her mother, and that he knows exactly who Daddy is and what he’s up to. He also plans to brainwash Ward. For now, he ties up Ward and Skye and leaves Daddy paralyzed on the floor.
Fitz, Simmons and Trip put on hazmat suits and go down the original hole to the city. Because electronics don’t work down there, they bring along some old-school Howling Commandoes bombs on wind-up timers. The idea is to blow up the city before HYDRA can get there.
While that’s happening, Coulson and the rest of the team raid Whitehall’s base. During that distraction, Daddy overcomes his shock collar and goes after Whitehall again. Just as he catches up with him, however, Coulson interrupts and shoots Whitehall dead. His revenge denied, a furious Daddy screams, “What have you done?” Coulson responds, “You’re welcome?” Needless to say, Coulson is now officially on Daddy’s shit-list. For this, he will take many punches to the face.
Ward frees himself and Skye, and promises to get her to safety. She finds a gun and coldly shoots him several times (but conveniently doesn’t kill him). Searching for the Diviner, Skye learns that Raina grabbed it and went down to the city. Because Skye still thinks that the Diviner is an apocalyptic weapon, she follows down the tunnel to stop her. Coulson, in turn, follows Skye down.
Agent 13, still with a disfigured May mask on her face, discovers Whitehall’s dead body. Without him, she has no purpose and no idea what to do. She stumbles onto Ward, who offers to help her figure stuff out if she’ll get him out of the building.
Trip, Fitz and Simmons return up the other hole, having successfully planted the bombs, only to be told that Skye and Coulson are down in the city now. Trip, without his hazmat suit, heads back down alone and races to disarm the bombs.
Raina comes across zombie Mac in a tunnel. When he sees the Diviner, he leads her to a big chamber with a pedestal in the center. I wonder what’s supposed to go there?
Skye chases Raina into the chamber and Mac lets her by, but he won’t let Coulson in. Coulson takes more punches to the face. Trip manages to slip in around them before the chamber seals closed. Good thing he finished turning off the bombs.
The Diviner floats out of Raina’s hand and lands on the pedestal. It then opens up, revealing some suspiciously Kryptonian-looking crystals. Raina and Skye suddenly turn to stone. Trip smashes the crystals, but it’s too late. He turns to stone too.
After a moment, the girls’ cocoons break open. We get a quick glimpse of Raina, who appears to have lizard eyes now. Skye looks… well, basically the same, except that she can levitate and a bright shaft of light shines down on her from nowhere to make her look super awesome and empowered.
Trip, sadly, crumbles to dust. I guess he’s dead. Outside the door, Mac comes out of his trance and Coulson leads him back to the entrance. At least one black guy survived!
Somewhere far away, a second Diviner glows. A man picks up a phone. “There’s someone new. Tell the others I’m on it.” His face has no eyes! (How did he see his Diviner glowing?)
This second season of ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ has had plenty of both ups and downs, but is generally a lot stronger than the first season. This is a very good and exciting finale episode (even if just a winter finale). Will this prove to be a genuine game-changer? That remains to be seen. At the very least, it opens up a lot of potentially interesting storylines for the future.
While we wait for this series to return, Marvel’s ‘Agent Carter’ will start on January 6th and run through the end of February. Recent promos make it look like a lot of fun, fingers crossed.